Three ways to increase job satisfaction (when leaving isn't an option)
“I’ve been in this role for a year now and I really like the company and my co-workers, but the job just isn't challenging. Frankly, I’m bored. But I can’t apply for a new position within the organization for another year. Also, because I’ve only been here a year, I don’t really want to look for another job. I mean, I really do have it good here. But I feel stuck and doing this for another year seems like torture!” Sound familiar? I’ve heard some version of this many times from clients and friends. The company is great, the co-workers are great but, the job – not so much.
According to the 2016 Udemy Workplace Boredom Study, 43% of US office workers are bored and 80% feel learning new skills would make them more engaged. How can you nix boredom, learn new skills and increase your job satisfaction when changing roles isn’t an option? Here are three suggestions -
- Ask to be assigned to special projects. When I look back on my career it was my work on special projects where I learned the most. They took me outside of my comfort zone and my area of expertise. They allowed me to learn new skills and stretch my abilities. In many cases, they also broadened my network both inside and outside of the organization. Sure, it often meant some extra hours, but they were well worth it. I found the work challenging and it added to my overall job satisfaction. It made mundane tasks more palatable and gave me something to look forward to.
- Suggest a special project. Don’t see an opportunity to join a special project? Create one! A former co-worker of mine saw a need in her organization for a job shadow program. The company was struggling with its workflow process. Each department operated so autonomously that they didn’t understand how their work output affected groups downstream. It was causing project delays and, in some cases, infighting between departments. Participants in the job shadow program not only gained exposure to the entire company workflow, but an unplanned side effect was that the program encouraged lateral movement in the organization, which lead to greater levels of employee retention.
- Organize an employee group around one of your interests. Starting an employee interest group such as a book club, cycling group or even a knitting club will allow you to find fulfillment at work in a more personal way. These groups can meet at lunch or even after work. It’s a great way to get to know your co-workers on a deeper level and perhaps learn something new.
Boredom is your imagination calling to you – Sherry Turkle
If you are feeling bored and unfulfilled at work, don’t wait for your company to make you happy. Take charge and look for ways to add dimension and satisfaction to your workday. If these three suggestions don’t resonate with you, use your imagination to come up with something that does. You can create a more satisfying work life!